North West Cambridge Area Action Plan (October 2009)

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1.1 The Area Action Plan for North West Cambridge identifies land to be released from the Cambridge Green Belt to contribute towards meeting the development needs of Cambridge University. It establishes an overall vision and objectives to achieve this. It also sets out policies and proposals to guide the development as a whole.

1.2 The area covered by the North West Cambridge Area Action Plan is shown on the Proposals Map as the area not covered by grey tone and bounded by a dashed red line. It adjoins the southern edge of Girton village and includes all of the open land between the present edge of Cambridge and the M11 motorway between Huntingdon Road and Madingley Road. It includes land in both Cambridge City and South Cambridgeshire.

1.3 The Area Action Plan forms part of the Development Plan for Cambridge City and South Cambridgeshire District. The documents which make up the Development Plan are listed in each Council’s Local Development Scheme. These set out how each Council will move from the previous to the current development plans system, and list which Local Development Documents are to be produced and when.

1.4 In using the Area Action Plan, it is essential that its policies are read as a whole rather than in isolation and should also be read together with policies and proposals elsewhere in the Development Plan. When a policy calls for something to be demonstrated, this will require action on the part of the applicant to inform the decision maker. If the required action is not taken to an appropriate standard, development is likely to be refused. For the avoidance of doubt, the final result of calculations arising from the application of policies and guidance should always be rounded to the nearest whole number.

1.5 The University’s development at North West Cambridge will take many years to complete and will come forward as and when the University can show a clear need for the land to be released. The Area Action Plan provides the basis for the initial planning permissions and for further detailed planning, including masterplanning, and approval of individual phases of development.

1.6 The Area Action Plan must seek a balance between meeting the long term development needs of the University, maintaining an appropriate Green Belt setting to Cambridge, creating a high quality new edge to Cambridge, and creating a high quality, distinctive and sustainable urban extension of Cambridge.

1.7 The Area Action Plan includes plans comprising:

  1. The Proposals Map, which identifies the area within which a new University quarter will be developed and shows the proposed revisions to the Green Belt boundary and the extent of the built-up area.
  2. A Concept Plan, which shows in diagrammatic form the structure of the development which will provide the basis for subsequent Masterplans, Design Guides and Design Codes.

1.8 A number of detailed plans will be needed, ranging from an overall masterplan to design codes. The Area Action Plan requires:

  1. A Masterplan to accompany the first outline planning application for the development showing the general disposition of development, roads, services, open space and landscaping.
  2. Design Guidance (incorporated in the Masterplan and supplemented by a Design and Access Statement).
  3. Design Codes to be prepared to accompany subsequent planning applications for individual phases of development and to set more detailed design criteria to create a clear identity for these areas.

1.9 A number of strategies are also required as part of the implementation of development at North West Cambridge to ensure that it is a high quality sustainable development.

1.10 There are many factors within Cambridge and South Cambridgeshire that have a bearing on planning policies and decision-making. The Sustainable Community Strategies for South Cambridgeshire and for Cambridge City promote the economic, environmental and social well-being of the areas and contribute to the achievement of sustainable development. The Area Action Plan will help achieve the physical and spatial objectives of the two Sustainable Community Strategies as they affect the Councils’ and their partners' objectives for the development at North West Cambridge.

1.11 As required by European Directive, a Sustainability Report, incorporating an ‘Environmental Report’, and a Supplementary Repoer relating to the site footprint, have been prepared to accompany the Area Action Plan. These reports comprise a structured assessment of the environmental, economic and social effects of the Area Action Plan. A Habitats Directive Assessment has also been prepared that considers the potential effects of the Area Action Plan on nature conservation sites of international importance. 

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